Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marathon training not good enough to catch robbers.

Spent the last few days trying to put together the mess that was created by the crazy purse snatching incident, which occurred less than 24 hours into my stay in Barcelona.

The actual event: (walking home from dinner on March 6th)

A rip-snatch disappearance of my purse, which felt just like when the monkeys stole my bag of mandarin oranges in Thailand, about a year and a half ago. How I wish it had only been mandarins.

I reacted quickly, chasing the two robbers down a pedestrian alley, screaming, "Give it back!" and other random purse-snatching screams, hoping they would drop it. I followed them around a few turns, like a scene out of a movie. All that marathon training didn't help me get to the robbers. And what if I had, what would I have done? Really? I am surprised I reacted that way anyway.

I'd seen so many bystanders. They all just stared. Did nothing. When I finally stopped, a local told me they usually throw the purses in the supermarket parking lot or the park. Ross just appeared at my side also like magic... he had been following my screams.

I asked Ross, "Do you know where we are?" He said no.

We called my aunt Dee, who was waiting at our metro stop with two Spanish girls, who were calling the police. The police told us to report it to the station. So they walked us all the way. At which point, we suffered our FOURTH attempted robbery. What balls to attack someone on the way to the station... I guess in Barcelona, anything goes.

That night, I canceled credit cards at the station, left my name and was told to return the following day when the translator was in.

So we took a cab home and each slept about two hours.

I kept waking up seeing the robbers running in the alley and wondering why I had been so stupid. I'm such a good traveler. I think it was just dumb moment of weakness.

The next day, we went to the internet cafe, and then to the police station, where they were very nice and filed a report. The girl translating said she'd been robbed in the same area and tried to hold onto her purse, but they just threw her to the ground and took it anyway.

Afterward I called Visa again. It took three attempts for one of my cards to be canceled, as the first girl who took the claim seemed dumb as a box of rocks. I should have hung up right away, how unsurprising that she didn't manage to cancel the card. The second call to this company was interrupted by the police report. When I called back the THIRD time, they said that they had put a hold on the card. AFTER I TOLD THEM I WAS ROBBED THREE TIMES! They finally canceled the card. I am not sure about Fidelity card services.

While I was on the phone with Visa, we watched hoards of people walk in to report robberies, sometime it was groups of two who were robbed. One homeless looking man returned two passports.

The next day returning to Germany, I felt at home, and grateful to live in a nice quiet place, where most people are trustworthy. The man at the Nuremberg airport parking just asked me when I arrived there and reissued the ticket. I could have said anything. Then he told me how he would love to live in America, because it was so big. He also said, "This parking ticket is the smallest of your problems!" Very sweet.

I got in my Mini Cooper and drove home, grateful for my nice blue car. On the way back to Weissenberg, the shoulders were covered in snow. My home. I decided I liked the cold.

I unpacked and then could not sleep as I had started to return to rerunning the events and worrying about identity theft. I did a few more business items before popping an ativan. I think that's the sort of weekend that calls for anti-anxiety medication! :)

Today all was much better...


Dee J. said...

Uncle Ross is asking if he might have shin splints from following your screams at such a rapid pace! I hope there are no further problems for you or for us either from this event or any other. love you loads, auntie dj and uncle ross (your copilot victims)

Candy said...

randomly reading your blog.. I was in Barcelona this week and a friend's purse was stolen a few seconds after stepping off the bus from the airport. everything was in you could possibly name got stolen with it. everything. it's just crazy how often that happens there. shame cos apart from that, I liked the city.

Sara Schultz said...

That makes me feel worse and better--- I've heard so many robbing stories from Barcelona... it really ruins the city, sadly...